Structure and spectra of irradiated secondaries in close binaries

A. C. Wawrzyn, T. S. Barman, H. M. Günther, P. H. Hauschildt, K. M. Exter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Context. The standard stellar model atmosphere ignores the influence of external radiation. This assumption, while sufficient for most stars, fails for many short-period binaries.Aims. In setting up combined model atmospheres for close binaries, we want to constrain the parameters of both components, especially in the case of a hot primary component strongly influencing its cool secondary companion. This situation can be found after common envelope evolution (CEE). The status of both components today allows one to retrace the CEE itself.Methods. We used our stellar atmosphere code PHOENIX, which includes the effect of irradiation in its radiation transport equation, to investigate the close binary star UU Sge. We combined our calculated spectra of both components, weighted by their visible size, and adjusted the input parameters until reasonable agreement with observations is reached.Results. We derive a range of 80 000-85 000 K for the effective temperature of the primary (T eff, p) and give a rough estimate for the primary's abundances, particularly the nitrogen enrichment. The heated day-side of the secondary has an apparent "effective" or equilibrium temperature of 24 000-26 000 K, nearly independent of its intrinsic luminosity. It shows an enhancement in nitrogen and carbon.Conclusions. The evolution of the primary and secondary stars were strongly influenced by the other's presence. Radiation from the primary on the secondary's day-side is still an important factor in understanding the secondary's atmospheric structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-237
Number of pages11
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Binaries: close
  • Binaries: eclipsing
  • Radiative transfer
  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Stars: individual: UU Sge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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